Deputy Secretary-General, at Commemoration, Says Attacks of 11 September 2001 Targeted Universal Values That United Nations Was Created to Defend

9 September 2011

Deputy Secretary-General, at Commemoration, Says Attacks of 11 September 2001 Targeted Universal Values That United Nations Was Created to Defend

9 September 2011
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, at Commemoration, Says Attacks of 11 September 2001

Targeted Universal Values That United Nations Was Created to Defend


Following are Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at the General Assembly ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, in New York, 9 September 2011:

On the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America, our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and with all those who suffered or lost friends and loved ones on that terrible day.  Dreams were shattered and wounds were opened that will never heal.  To truly honour the memory of those who died — and the sacrifice of the brave responders who rushed to the scenes of the attacks — all people must stand against terrorism.

The attacks targeted more than one single country; they were an assault on humanity itself, and on the universal values of peace and dignity that the United Nations was created to promote and defend.  That is why the United Nations stood in solidarity with the United States and with all affected people and countries.  The Security Council and the General Assembly joined their voices in a chorus that spoke for all countries in condemning the attacks and demanding justice.

And we, the entire United Nations system, immediately proceeded to intensify an already wide-ranging and long-standing campaign against terrorism.  We pushed for adherence to international treaties that seek to cut off funds for terrorists, deny them mobility and prevent them from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  In 2006, we adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the first strategic approach to this threat ever to be endorsed by the entire United Nations membership.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations campaign has stepped up its efforts to counter the extremism and polarization that are so prominent in terrorism’s playbook, by building bridges of trust and mutual understanding.  And we have stood with the victims of terrorism, inviting many from around the world to a symposium at United Nations Headquarters to give voice to those who have been thrust to the frontlines of this fight.  At the same time, we continue our long-standing work for peace, efforts that encompass preventive diplomacy, supporting democracy and working to keep failing States from descending into chaos.

Like so many other people and institutions around the world, the United Nations has also been a target of terrorism, including just two weeks ago in Abuja, Nigeria.  No cause or grievance can ever justify such wanton killing and destruction.

Allow me now to add a short personal recollection.

On the day of the attacks 10 years ago, I was in my office in Dar es Salaam, [ United Republic of] Tanzania.  When my assistant ran in to tell me what had happened, we immediately turned on the television.  We were shocked.

You will recall that the 9/11 atrocity came just three years after the horrific attack on the United States embassy in Dar es Salaam.  On that occasion, although I had been home at the time, several kilometres away, I nevertheless heard the blast and felt the vibrations.  I learned shortly afterwards that I lost a friend who had gone to the building for a visa.

And hence, because Tanzania had already been targeted by terrorists, and given I had visited New York and was familiar with the buildings, I felt a sense of connection with what I was seeing.  Despite the distance, I felt very close.  I know many other people around the world felt the same way.

My thoughts went to the family members and loved ones of the victims of the terrorist acts in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.  Let us try to put ourselves in their shoes again today.  Let us also not forget those victims who survived the horrors of 9/11 and still bear indelible scars.

Terrorism has killed too many of our sons, daughters and mothers, our fathers, sisters and brothers.  We cannot let it tear apart the human family.  This challenge affects the entire world.  The United Nations is determined to honour the memory of those who died 10 years ago by galvanizing all countries in this necessary fight to seek justice, promote peace and build a better and more secure future for generations to come.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.